Labour pledges to remove carbon from UK electricity supply

English PV installer EvoEnergy has calculated that if Labour’s pledge to remove carbon from the UK grid by 2030 were to be achieved solely through PV, 100 million extra panels would need to be installed.

With a general election looming in the UK on May 7, Labour yesterday (Monday) launched its manifesto, which included a pledge to introduce a legal requirement for UK electricity to be carbon-free by 2030.

Labour leader Ed Milliband’s plans presumably include a large dose of nuclear power but Nottingham-based installer EvoEnergy calculated what the pledge would mean, based solely on typical 250 Wp panels.

According to the installer’s figures, panels would have to be installed at the rate of 700,000 per year for the next 15 years, taking PV capacity in the UK from its present 5 GW to a cumulative 31 GW over the same period.

The manifesto pledge is based on a Labour majority at the polls, an unlikely-looking proposition with incumbent coalition government partners the Conservatives edging ahead in a tight election race this week and the likeliest outcome another governing coalition.

The figures come on the heels of a report released by consultants Mercom Capital this morning that show four of the world’s five biggest large-scale solar project acquisitions in the first three months of the year related to UK projects.

Developers raced to connect their projects by the start of the month to qualify for the fixed returns available under the Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) regime rather than the market forces-dictated returns available under the new Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme introduced by the Conservatives.